July 2020
Latest News from MVRPC
MVRPC Regional Equity Initiative Conducts Virtual Compression Planning
Compression planning (CP) has been in the MVRPC toolbox for many years. It has been used to complete plans for creating trail maps, addressing poverty and food deserts, as well as determining the way forward for multiple environmental causes through Greater Dayton Partners for the Environment. MVRPC has used it to plan for our environmental work program and now we have used CP for Regional Equity Initiative (REI). 

The REI was faced with COVID-19 and social distancing only 3 months following its kick off. After canceling the March and April meetings, the decision was to decide whether to wait on the pandemic to end or to continue our momentum through use of a video conferencing platform. We decided to try video conferencing in May.

The participants in the REI are from various business, nonprofit, and government sectors of our region and economy. We included our key Equity Leadership Team (ELT) partners in the compression plan. The ELT roster is made up of participants from the Dayton Foundation, Learn to Earn Dayton, Dayton Mayor Whaley and her staff, United Way Greater Dayton Area, and others including social scientists and diversity and inclusion experts from academia and commerce. For the compression planning session, we expanded our roster to include other sectors like parks and recreation, health care, housing, Greater Dayton Chamber of Commerce, and education. The full roster of CP participants is on the Committee Center on the MVRPC website .

Normally conducted in person with flip charts, multi-color sticky dots, and index cards, this compression planning session had to make accommodations for participants not being in the same room. The way around this was through distribution of electronic surveys ahead of the compression planning sessions. We asked participants to provide their thoughts for what should be included in vision and mission statements and on a list of activities that the team and new incoming staff would work on in the first several months of the REI. 

During the first session in May, our committee’s louder voices made their thoughts known very well about how to eliminate racism and other disparities. In the Zoom platform, their passion made it more difficult for those new to racial equity discussions to get their thoughts into the discussion. Therefore, in June, we decided to divide the participants into three smaller groups of 8 to 10 participants with staff facilitators with the hope of having more discussions involving the broader group. The June session worked so much better than May and it was exciting to see that more voices were involved in the dialogue.

The main takeaway from this planning process is to inform readers and members that the video conferencing platform is a valid alternative to meeting in person for planning projects even for larger groups. The 35 participants on the video conference knew that the alternative was to wait on the virus to pass which at this point is increasing in its spread here in the Miami Valley. It was important for the effort to make progress. We will be disseminating the results from the compression plan sessions in a week or two. We plan to continue meeting to continue to develop our plan and strategy for eliminating racism in the Miami Valley.
Air Quality Alert issued for Saturday, July 4 and Sunday, July 5, 2020
The Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission (MVRPC), in conjunction with the Regional Air Pollution Control Agency (RAPCA), is issuing an Air Quality Alert (AQA) for Saturday, July 4 and Sunday, July 5, 2020.

MVRPC recently updated the name of air pollution advisories in the Miami Valley Region to Air Quality Alerts.

“The National Weather Service and other area partners use the name Air Quality Alert for days that are exceeding 100 on the Air Quality Index,” stated MVRPC’s Executive Director, Brian O. Martin, “For those traveling around Southwest and Central Ohio, it will now be the same name and message for everyone.”

The National Weather Service is forecasting temperatures to be in the low to mid-90's with lots of sunshine and light northeasterly winds. These conditions are conducive for the formation of ground-level ozone and may lead to elevated air pollution levels.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) forecast for Saturday, July 4 is 101 and Sunday, July 5 is 105.

Any reading at 101 or higher is considered "unhealthy for sensitive groups". While the general public is unlikely to be impacted, the elderly, children and anyone with respiratory diseases should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion. It's OK to be active outside, but take more breaks and do less strenuous activities. Contact your health care provider if you experience symptoms such as coughing, shortness of breath, or unusual fatigue which may indicate a serious problem.

Take action to reduce ground-level ozone especially on days when these notices are issued by:
  • AVOID DRIVING IF POSSIBLE. Vehicle emissions cause almost 50% of ground-level ozone. For short trips, walk or ride a bike.

  • REFUEL YOUR VEHICLE ONLY AFTER 8:00 P.M. or if possible wait until after the Air Quality Alert expires.Vapors from gasoline contribute to the smog problem. By refueling after 8:00 p.m. when it’s cooler, smog doesn’t form as easily. Make sure your gas cap fits tightly so gas fumes don’t escape and contribute to the smog problem.

  • LIMIT USE OF SMALL GASOLINE POWERED EQUIPMENT such as lawnmowers, chainsaws, power trimmers and shredders. Operating a gasoline-powered lawnmower for one hour produces the same amount of pollution as driving a car for eleven hours! Try a non-motorized or battery-powered lawnmower instead.

  • MOW YOUR LAWN IN THE EVENING. when the sunlight is not as strong and smog is less likely to form. 

For more information about air pollution, contact the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission, visit www.miamivalleyair.org . You can also register to receive alerts via e-mail when they are issued. 
MVRPC Staff Updates
As we begin the 2021 Fiscal Year, there are some well deserved promotions and recognitions among MVRPC staff.
Tawana Lynn Keels joined the MVRPC team as our Director of Finance and Human Resource Administration in February. Her expertise has been critical in recent months as we have navigated the personnel and administrative operational requirements resulting from remote work. In recognition of her outstanding contributions, she was recently released from her probationary period required of all new employees.
Mike Lucas was promoted to Manager, Information Systems and Web in recognition of the critical role he plays in continuity of operations for the agency. Mike's leadership and dedication in recent months made the transition to remote work very smooth for all staff and for our committee members.
Tom Harner was promoted to GIS Manager to better reflect his contributions to projects, programs and planning efforts throughout the agency. Tom has led the data visualization efforts for traditional planning projects as well as disaster recovery and regional equity efforts.
Laura Henry applied for a competitive scholarship to attend the National Association for Commuter Transportation (virtual) Conference being held in early August. The conference focuses on the latest trends, technology and best practices for a wide variety of commuting and emissions reductions programs worldwide. She recently learned that she was selected to receive the scholarship, which is a $195 value. Laura’s recent leadership of the OARC Rideshare Committee certainly played a role in her selection.
Executive Director Brian O. Martin to Serve on Panel for Big Read Event
Now, at this unprecedented time of coronavirus, economic stress, and a growing demand for social justice, our partners at the Dayton Metro Library and the Dayton Daily News invite the community to participate in The Big Read where we all read, contemplate, and discuss a single thought-provoking book.

The book Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World and Become a Good Ancestor  by Layla Saad takes readers on a 28-day journey. Each page encourages the reader to understand their white privilege and participation in white supremacy, so that they can stop (often unconsciously) inflicting damage on black, indigenous and people of color, and in turn, help other white people do better, too. The book provides historical and cultural contexts, sharing moving stories and anecdotes, and includes expanded definitions, examples, and further resources.
Dayton Metro Library  and the  Dayton Daily News  will host a live streaming  The Big Read Panel Discussion, Wednesday, July 8, 5 - 6 p.m., moderated by DDN Community Impact Editor, Amelia Robinson.
Panelists are:
  • Debbie Feldman, President and CEO, Dayton Children’s Hospital
  • Shannon Isom, President & CEO, YWCA Dayton
  • Kevin M. Kelly, Executive Director, Dayton International Peace Museum
  • Brian O. Martin, Executive Director, Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission
MVRPC Annual Report
In the coming weeks, MVRPC Member organizations and community partners will receive the 2019 Annual Report in the mail.

We are a Resilient Region , and the report celebrates the ways that we came together as a Region in the face of unprecedented challenges.

You will also read about the ways that MVRPC's team of talented planners, engineers, program managers and administrators worked side-by-side with dedicated public servants in communities across the Region to make transportation, community planning and sustainability projects and programs a reality.
Public Participation Policy Update
The updated Public Participation Policy was adopted by the MVRPC Board of Directors during the June 2020 meeting. It is designed to secure active and representative involvement from all segments of the community in planning and decision-making about regional projects, investments, policies and other planning issues. A framework of the actions and outreach tools to achieve involvement along with state and local requirements are listed in the chapters of the policy. A section was added to provide a strategy for public involvement during extreme circumstances like the current pandemic.

MVRPC's new public participation policy can serve as a guide for your organization and the MVRPC team is here to help you incorporate public engagement best practices in to your efforts.

Contact Stacy Schweikhart sschweikhart@mvrpc.org to learn more.

If you are interested in providing comments or attending public meetings, visit MVRPC’s website homepage to see information about opportunities available. .
Executive Director Brian O. Martin Dayton Rotary Club 2020-2021 President
This week, 2019-2020 Dayton Rotary Club President Jean Maychack officially turned over the gavel to MVRPC Executive Director Brian O. Martin as he begins his term of service as 2020-2021 President. The Dayton Rotary Club has been an integral part of our Region for well over a century. As President, Brian will lead efforts to connect community and business leaders in the Miami Valley through service and fellowship.
Spotlight on Member Resources
MVRPC to Administer Board Delegate Survey
In order to garner as much delegate input as possible, MVRPC will administer a short electronic survey of its board delegates in the coming weeks. The goal of the survey is to get feedback from you about returning to in person meetings. Our Zoom virtual meetings have been really good and allow us to conduct our business, but we certainly all miss the in person dialogue and seeing one another. 

At nearly 80 members, we have a large Board of Directors and we would need to make special arrangements to adhere to state and CDC guidance including: 
 
1.     Masks and social distancing are required
2.     More separation requires more space at the Dayton Realtors
3.     Possibly configuring the rooms in smaller groups of 10 and with video displays
4.     Providing Audio and Video Conferencing on Zoom at every meeting
 
We have also been considering a board breakfast in October. The breakfast, for the delegate and a guest, would take the place of our Spring Dinner 2020 that was canceled.
MVRPC Planning Services
As a result of COVID-19 pandemic, we all have experienced changes to our work environment, such as working from home and using virtual conference and communication tools.    

Despite all these, MVRPC’s interdisciplinary staff continues to provide critical planning and data services to our member organizations for their planning and policy development efforts. A few examples of our current projects include Greene County Future Land Use Plan Updates, Miami Township Comprehensive Plan Updates, and Montgomery County Land Bank Thriving Neighborhood Initiatives.
  
MVRPC’s services supplements and expands your in-house planning capacity and they entail:

  • Research and Analytics Services providing best practices research, perform robust data analysis, prepare data visualization materials, and provide mapping services; and

  • Consultant Procurement Support Services, assisting with project scoping, process development, and Request for Proposals (RFP) activities.

Through a strategic partnership with MVRPC, you have access to our staff’s diverse expertise and experiences. The tools we use may be different now but with our continued commitment and dedicated staff, you can reply on us for the same high quality services. Visit the MVRPC website to learn more .
Funds Available for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations
The Ohio EPA has opened applications for grants under the Diesel Mitigation Trust Fund program to help fund the installation of publicly available Level 2 Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations in  26 Ohio priority counties .

This current offering is for Level 2 charging stations only. Both Montgomery and Greene Counties each have $115,000 allocated for Level 2 charging sites. A separate funding opportunity will be made available in early 2021 for DC Fast Charging stations.

Applications are due in the form of a pdf file via email to  evcharging@epa.ohio.gov  no later than 3:00 PM on September 30, 2020 .

Ohio EPA has scheduled two webinar information sessions to provide a program overview and an opportunity for applicants to ask questions. These are scheduled for:


Matt Lindsay, MVRPC Environmental Planning Manager, is available to assist members with the project application. Please email mlindsay@mvrpc.org .
Grants and Funding Resources
On a monthly basis, MVRPC highlights several funding opportunities on our website that could benefit our member communities. We include a description, contact information and program links. We have also listed other valuable resources for finding funding opportunities.

This month we are featuring information on:
  • Ohio VW (Diesel Mitigation Trust Fund) – Deadline: August 7, 2020.
  • CommunityWINS Grant–Deadline: October 9, 2020
 
Attached is the latest grant funding opportunities specifically regarding COVID-19:

  • Montgomery County CARES Act Grant Program (updated) – Deadline: November 30, 2020
  • Ohio PPE Retooling and Reshoring Grant Program – Deadline: none listed
  • Ohio Minority Micro-Enterprise Grant Program – Deadline: none listed
 
If you need assistance with your grant pursuit or further research, please contact Kathryn Youra Polk, Senior Planner, at 937.223.6323 or kyoura.polk@mvrpc.org .
Upcoming Meetings and Events
Most meetings are being cancelled or shifted to teleconference. Please check the agency calendar on mvrpc.org or contact Teresa to find out the status of your meeting. All upcoming TAC and Board meetings will be on Zoom.

July 16, 2020 - 9:30 a.m.     
MVRPC Technical Advisory Committee
Via Teleconference

August 6, 2020 - 8:30 a.m.      
MVRPC Executive Committee
Via Teleconference

August 6, 2020 - 9:00 a.m.      
MVRPC Board of Directors Meeting
Via Teleconference